House Speaker Jay Lucas pledges to be voice for flood-damaged Ni - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

House Speaker Jay Lucas pledges to be voice for flood-damaged Nichols

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
Nichols in Marion County was nearly wiped off the map by flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew. House Speaker Jay Lucas visited on Monday. (Source: WIS) Nichols in Marion County was nearly wiped off the map by flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew. House Speaker Jay Lucas visited on Monday. (Source: WIS)
NICHOLS, SC (WIS) -

People are slowly returning to their homes in Nichols, mostly to clean out their damaged houses condemned from the floods after Hurricane Matthew.

But now the question remains: How much will the State pay to get the town back on its feet?  

Speaker of the House Jay Lucas visited and toured the destruction and said the town was laid to waste.

RELATED: See photos from the flood-damaged Grand Strand.

Weeks after the waters spilled over the Little Pee Dee and Lumber rivers’ banks, standing water in parts of the town still keep some from re-entering their homes. Most houses and businesses are condemned from the flood damage. There are still 90 people living in shelters.

Lucas said the priority is to stabilize the local government. Right now, a team of three local employees handle the recovery and day-to-day business: the mayor, town clerk, and police chief. Lucas said they will need businesses back operating so the town can regain its tax base and make payroll.

"Finances are a huge concern for them, so again, all the people of Nichols have now are the people working in their government and once they lose that, they’re not going to have anything else, so I’m not sure what it’s going to require that we do to stabilize city government here in Nichols, but we want to try to help them," Lucas said.

Lucas is pledging to do what he can to offer state relief but is unsure of what kind of money is available for that.

"You know, again, I told them to write down a list, you know, anything they can think of and whether or not it’s possible," Lucas said. "We don’t know, but we can certainly ask. We want to do anything and everything legally the state of South Carolina can do for an area like this."

Monday was like a research day for Lucas, especially since the town’s state representative, Wayne George, is retiring from the State House.

"One of the reasons for coming is to help give Nichols a voice," Lucas said. "You know, I’m the first Speaker of the House from the Pee Dee since 1930 I believe, so again this is like home to me. So, coming over here and lending a voice to Nichols and their plight in the legislature would be something I’d be glad to do."

The town library is stocked with supplies, open for anyone who needs toiletry items and water.

Copyright 2016 WIS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly